It was perfect timing. The new documentary, “All In: The Poker Movie,” made its premiere at the CineVegas Film Festival in Las Vegas in mid-June, just as the 2009 World Series of Poker got into full swing in Sin City. And to top it off, the film won the top prize at the awards ceremony for the best documentary of the festival. In the heat of the poker summer, a new poker film seems to have caught the eye of everyone - in and out of the poker media.
The film was directed by Douglas Tirola in the form of a documentary about poker history. While this has been attempted on a smaller scale by various media outlets, this may be the first major film to take a shot at it…and succeed. And when it premiered at the Brenden Palms Theater on Thursday, June 11, in Las Vegas, several hundred people turned out for the red carpet event that featured many of the poker pros featured in the movie as well as executives like WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack who have made an impact on the poker world in recent years.
According to a PokerNews review, the movie began with a slew of well-known poker pros speaking about the game, as well as Hollywood and sports celebrities who have found their places in the world of poker. But the majority of the film took viewers through the history of the game as it matured and slowly worked its way into mainstream American culture through instrumental venues like poker films (Rounders) and poker tours (World Poker Tour.) With a discussion of the hole card camera and its impact on the popularity of the game, online poker is also explored through poker’s evolution as depicted in the film. A reasonable amount of attention was given to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, though PokerNews asserts that the implications of its placement in the film were wrong, and they also pointed out the film was centered on Americans and did not take into consideration the global contingent that helped grow the game.
But overall, the film was pegged a success, and the history of poker depicted in it was one of the best every compiled for a theatrical release. While the movie may not be released in a mainstream way, the kudos given to the documentary might allow it some independent theater releases and a grand DVD release.